A Norman High junior has made history by becoming the first female Eagle Scout in Cleveland and McClain counties.
Makenna Green, 16, an aspiring physical therapist, received the honor Nov. 3 and attended a ceremony earlier this month at Norman Public Library Central.
Makenna said she was inspired to join Scouts BSA by her brother, Dylan, 24, who also reached the Eagle rank.
“I liked to be outside and camping, hiking, all that sort of fun stuff,” Makenna said. “I also knew my brother made a lot of good friends and good connections, so I wanted to make my own kind of connections with friends.”
Makenna’s mother Jennifer said Makenna has wanted to join Scouts since following her brother when he was a Cub Scout.
“She wanted to be in the raingutter regattas and all of that, too. She wanted to be able to do all the things that they were doing,” Jennifer said.
Makenna participated in Girl Scouts for five years before joining Scouts BSA in February 2019 at age 14, after girls were allowed into that program. Girls were first allowed into Cub Scouts the previous year.
Trip Stiehler, Scouts BSA district executive of Cleveland and McClain counties, said he was excited about Makenna’s achievement. He grew up in Scouts from kindergarten through age 18, he said.
“To see females finally being able to get recognized for the work that many of them were already doing and participating is really rewarding to see,” he said.
Norman now has only one female troop, which is expecting between 20 to 30 members once some Cub Scouts graduate into the next level. Moore has two.
Stiehler said several other young women in the area also are working toward the Eagle rank and have developed friendly competition with boys in Scouts.
According to numbers from Stiehler, the Sooner District had 21 Eagle Scouts in 2021, with membership at about 1,000 Scouts altogether from ages 5-18.
Stiehler described Makenna as smart, well spoken and polite.
“[She] has strong leadership skills and is going to take the world by storm one day,” Stiehler said.
Setting a new bar
Makenna’s path to becoming an Eagle Scout wasn’t always easy, she said.
“It’s been a very rocky journey. It’s very hard to find girls to get into a troop, and you have to have a minimum of four or five to be counted as a troop. … It was a struggle because I had to be the main leader of the kids for most of it because of all the fluctuations,” Makenna said. “I’ve had a lot of fun. We enjoyed hikes and camping, hanging out at meetings.”
Makenna’s mother was Scoutmaster and her father, Kerry, was a committee member for the troop.
Makenna said some parents were worried and reluctant about girls joining Scouts, and they always struggled when fundraising to help pay for trips and other Scouting necessities.
Jennifer said some of the boys in Scouts were standoffish at first, but were more welcoming once they got to know Makenna and the other girls.
“They treated her like just another Scout,” Jennifer said.
Kerry said many people at the time were old school and had some concerns, but Makenna and the other girls in the troop stepped up and disproved the concerns, even setting a new bar for boys to reach. The boys in Scouts were helpful and supportive, he said.
“They were not boys and girls anymore. They were Scouts,” he said.
Her parents said they are very proud of Makenna’s achievement and have been very encouraging and supportive.
“She worked really hard,” Jennifer said. “She stayed focused, she committed herself and she followed through. You can’t ask more than that.”
Kerry said Makenna’s brother always stood up for her, even before the decision to add girls to Scouts was made. Her brother told Boy Scouts members who were vehemently against girls joining that he would put his sister up against them any day, Kerry said.
To obtain the Eagle rank, Makenna had to earn 21 merit badges, log community service hours and organize and complete a community project.
Makenna and her fellow Scouts built 15 new houses and refurbished and improved 15 existing houses for baby squirrels and opossums at WildCare Oklahoma.
She spent over 400 hours on the project alone, not counting all of her other service hours and time collecting merit badges, she said. Makenna said she thought of the project while volunteering at WildCare.
She also helped at Discovery Cove and with trail clearing at Thunderbird Park, set up a 5K run, created cards to give to veterans at a facility, collected and donated food items and helped at a pinewood derby and with other Eagle Scout projects.
Now that she has achieved the Eagle rank, Makenna plans on focusing on academics and preparing for college, possibly in physical therapy. She also is open to traveling.
Kerry said Makenna has maintained a 4.0 GPA while being involved in a female troop and Venture Crew 82, an upper-level Scouting program.
She also will graduate from a physical therapy aid program at the Moore Norman Technology Center this year.
Makenna said she was inspired to go into occupational and physical therapy by her aunt, who works in that field. She hopes to get a job following her clinical at Therapy in Motion in east Norman.
Kerry said Makenna has been asked to speak to Cub Scouts members to encourage other girls to strive toward Eagle rank.
“It would be nice to see more girls take the opportunity because, in the business world, when you see Eagle Scout on a resumé, it means something across the board,” he said.
Makenna encouraged other girls to join Scouts and said Scouts helped her gain confidence in public speaking and reduced procrastination.
“It’s a lot of hard work, and if you have the dedication, determination and the right kind of people, it’s definitely worth it,” she said. “I like helping people. It was an opportunity to polish my skills and learn more about myself and to follow my brother’s lead.”